By looking at the actions
God took in creating the world, we learn lessons for our own daily
responsibilities. We find ourselves in God’s story. Just as God created the
greatest story on earth, He created us and allowed us to write our own stories.
His desire is that we write our story according to his great plan for us. We
can learn what we need to know about story writing by looking at how God wrote
used order and purpose in creation.
God had a plan and a
purpose for each part of creation. He was methodical. Everything was done in
his order and in his timing. There was a strategy, a plan of creation. God
created with intention. It was not haphazard, accidental, or willy nilly. No,
it was in order and on purpose.. Creation functions best when we are in right
alignment with God. This concept of right order lies behind the idea of
"right - eousness." To
be "righteous" means to be in correct alignment with God, other
creatures, and the earth.
What can we learn from God’s order? How important is it for us to live
an orderly life? The Bible tells us there is a time for everything and purpose
for everything under heaven. This is a reminder to us to live an intentional
used creative and wildly imaginative powers. in making the heavens, earth, and man.
Consider this: Everything that has ever been created was
We learn in the creation
passage that we are created in the image of God. This means we too have been
created as creative beings with spectacular imaginations. The imagination is a
powerful, often overlooked, gift from God for creating loving relationships
with God, our neighbors and ourselves. When reading passages in the Bible we
read words for information, but it is the imagination that pulls the heart with
its feelings and passion into the process of creation. When we engage our heart
and mind, we allow God to move within us in a multi-dimensional way. We become
fully engaged in the power of the Bible and the accounts that we read.
How does viewing the Creation story from the perspective of a vivid
imagination and wild creativity change our understanding of creation? Of God?
What aspects of creation do you find most imaginative?
Do you approach our work with creativity? Do you engage your mind and
spirit in the work we do? Do you use your imagination in problem solving?
3.God was pleased with his creation.
Six times in this process
of creation God stopped, looked over his handiwork and saw that it was good. On
that final inspection he actually pronounced his work as “very good.” Once
again, we are reminded that we are created in the image of our Father. He is
pleased with his creation. He is pleased with us. God likes me; he really likes
me.He is proud of the way he made me.
Are we able to look at the work we do, the goals we accomplish, the
relationships we build and say, “This is good!” or “ This is very good!”?
Clearly, God enjoyed the work he did? Can you say the same? Does your work
bring pleasure? If not, what changes need to take place? We learn from God that
he stops periodically in the creation process to evaluate his work. Is there
anything wrong with feeling good about our accomplishments?
made us in his image.
In verse 26, God says, “Let us make human beings in
our image, to be like us...." Is this the “royal” we/us? Or is
this a reference to the Trinity. He uses the plural just as he begins to create
human beings. How interesting to think that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
are all part of the creation process! God gave us his traits, his
Do you see yourself as God sees you? What is the reflection in the
Because we are made in God’s image, we can feel positive about
ourselves. God is pleased with his creation of you. If you feel worthless or of
little value, remember that God sees you as a beautiful child of a king.
Criticizing or downgrading yourself is criticizing God’s creation.
We don’t know why God
rested but he must have thought it was important. We learn that after days of
work, God chose to spend time resting. We too should find the time to rest and
reflect after a period of work. This period of rest will renew our bodies,
souls, and spirits.
Do you find a time to rest and reflect after a period of work?
The Creation story
provides us many lessons from our Creator God about living our best lives
The audio link below is my lesson on God's Original Blessing found in Genesis 1 & 2.
The account of Gideon in
the book of Judges provides an inspirational example of a reluctant leader. Our
first impression of Gideon is of him hiding in a wine press threshing wheat. He was so terrified of the Midianites so he hid from them
and tried to secretly get a little bit of food for his family. God saw not the weaknesses of a fearful man,
but the strengths of a leader and called Gideon to accomplish something big.
In Judges 6 & 7 we
watch as Gideon moves from despair to disappointment to doubt to discouragement
and eventually to dependence on God. Gideon leads an Israelite army who is
equipped only with trumpets, torches, and jars to become victorious in one of
the strangest battles in history.
purposes is not determined by the size of our checkbook, the number of initials
after our name, or the size of our congregation. God is looking to glorify
Himself on earth through people who are fully dependent on Him. He wants people
who are willing to trust in him and allow him to use their strengths, gifts,
talents, and skills for his glory. He invites us to join him in doing His will.
He wants us to want to serve him and work for him.He wants us to “Get up!” and go for him just as
To hear this one hour
lesson A Time for Evaluating, click
on the link below.
Have you ever tried to set sail – to step out to do
something new – only to find out that something was keeping you anchored in
place? Many things keep us anchored.
by Edgar Lee Masters is a series of short biographical poems about the people
who lived in the fictional town, Spoon River.One of the characters, George Gray, looks back over his life and
compares it to “a boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.”George was offered many opportunities and was
hungry to find meaning in his life. He knew he should have left the harbor and
set sail in order to fully experience life. However, George was afraid. He
feared becoming disillusioned, and he dreaded taking chances. So…George never
set sail.He longed for the sea yet was
contrast George Gray with Simon Peter, also a man with a boat. Like his father
and brother Andrew, Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade, working on the Lake
of Galilee, a really large lake with about 30 fishing towns surround it.Peter knew fish, he
knew boating, he knew about nets and he knew about navigating the waters. Peter
knew his passion and used his skill well. He learned his skill, he practiced
it. He became good at it. Peter realized what he was good at doing and set sail.
Are you more like George Gray…fearful to set out in faith and use
your gifts and talents for Christ? Or are you like Simon Peter….stepping out in
faith using your gifts and talents for Christ?
In the 10 minute audio below I teach 6 lessons that we learn from Simon
Peter that will help us set sail for Christ.
Lesson #1: Peter set sail.
#2:Peter followed Jesus.
– Peter let Jesus use him and his tools.
Peter was all in for Jesus.
– Peter trusted Jesus in the storm
#6:Peter faced his fear and walked on water for
Wounds can be physical,
emotional, and spiritual. In our faith journeys we often get wounded. Wounds stem
from many different sources: abuse, unfaithfulness, divorce, unhealthy relationships, bullying, neglect, poor self-image, etc. Most people bear some kind of wound, and some
people unfortunately harbor multiple unhealed wounds and scars.
Are you wounded? Do you
suffer from any of these symptoms ·Perfectionism ·Feelings of guilt and shame ·Feeling you’re never good enough ·Low self-image ·Self-hatred ·Critical spirit ·Insecurity ·Jealousy ·Bitterness ·Rage
If you answered “yes” to
any of these, you could be
you recognize these as symptoms of being wounded? Sometimes we overlook the
cause and continue with the symptoms. We try to fit in, act properly, or we
often live in denial about our wounds. We think if we ignore them, they will go
away. We justify our wounds and try to be good, not rock the boat, and be in
control. These are attempts to live above
Running wounded and
living above the wound have effects on our physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
We focus on the negatives instead of positives. We see the impossibilities
instead of the possibilities, and we are filled with fear instead of faith.
The focus on problems,
difficulties, and the blows of life leave you sapped of energy, discouraged,
and fearful. When we focus on our problems instead of our solutions, we are
living in our weaknesses. This focus will have an effect on our spiritual
Receive Healing for Wounds
1. ACKNOWLEDGE the need for healing 2. LOCATE the cause of the pain. 3. CLEANSE the wound. 4. RECEIVE HEALING of the hurt. 5. STRENGTHEN the weak area.
How do we gain strength when
we’ve been wounded? Let’s look at 4 P’s to help us gain strength.
1.Prayer 2.Promises in Scripture 3.Positive Affirmations 4.Positive Christian support
As we gain strength in
our weak areas, let us remember never to waste our wounds. We use all that we
have experienced to provide love and encouragement to others who are wounded.
David's plea in Psalm 40 is for emotional healing. It gives us hope also for healing.
1 I waited
patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Click on the link below
to hear my 1 hour lesson on A Time for
has seasons, stages, and phases. The life cycle supports this idea. Infants
become toddlers who become school age children who become teenagers who become
young adults who become middle aged who become senior adults. We end one phase
in order to begin another.
endings are natural but some are necessary, sometimes we hold on too long to
something that should end. Scripture
refers to transitions that occur in our life that should also occur in our
When I was a
child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
The idea is that as we grow in our faith, we leave
behind childish ways. We grow up in our faith. We move forward in our faith
journey. So as we mature in our faith we no longer think, speak, or act like a
child. That period ends to make way for mature beliefs and practices. Are there
some endings we need to make that will allow us to grow and blossom in our
faith? What things might need to come to an end so that our faith can grow? Excuses
for not having a devotional time? Sleeping in on Sunday morning? Doing things
other than service or mission work? Ignoring outreach opportunities?
do we know when something needs to end?
·It is immoral, illegal, unethical, or ungodly. ·It doesn’t pass the “smell test.” ·It prevents you from living in your God-given
purpose. ·It keeps you “stuck.” ·It is not likely to change. Past experience
indicates a positive change is not likely. ·It drains you instead of energizes you. ·It gives you false hope. You keeping hoping
things will improve and change but it never does.
his book, Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud says that endings are a
necessary part of life. Dr. Cloud’s key metaphor for necessary endings comes
from the world of gardening. A healthy, vibrant, blooming rosebush is
beautiful, but does not come into being without immense effort. The key to a
healthy rosebush: pruning.
is a process of proactive endings. It turns out that a rosebush, like many
other plants, cannot reach its full potential without a systematic process of
pruning. The gardener intentionally and purposefully cuts off branches and buds
that fall into any of three categories:
Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones,
Sick branches that are not going to get well, and
Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive. (Page
In our personal
lives we must perform the three types of necessary endings described above if
we are to flourish. Life always produces more branches than it can sustain.
Pruning your life is necessary in order for us to direct limited resources,
such as time, money, energy, talent, and emotions toward the things that help
achieve our vision most. Often in our personal faith journey we need to leave
something behind in order to move forward. Without
the ability to end things, we stay stuck and do not become who we are meant to
Let’s see how the gardener prunes the rosebush in order to encourage
gardener assesses the rosebush to determine which buds are worthy of the
plant’s limited fuel and support and then cuts the others away.We may need to consider the worth of our “buds.” Are these people, circumstances, situations that are sucking all
of my fuel leaving me too dry to do the things I need to do? Are there
activities that are using my limited resources, my limited energy and
preventing me from pouring into the things worthy of a daughter or a king? We
might need to prune. 2.The gardener might monitor and care for the sick
or diseased branches for a while. But at some point, he realizes that no matter
how much water, fertilizer, or care he gives the sick branches, they will not
thrive. Are there some unhealthy branches that have somehow gotten
attached to you? Are there practices or people or habits that are not healthy
and positive and full of life? Might they need to be pruned so that you can
give life to something that will actually bloom? 3. Dead branches force healthy ones to bend instead
of grow straight. The gardener needs to cut the dead ones away. Is there a relationship or situation that is affecting the good in
you? Sometimes wrong people and wrong circumstances are so diseased that they
spread their sickness to other parts of our lives. They begin to kill off the
good. As the dead branch inhibits the straight growth of healthy branches, so
often unhealthy people cause us to bend so that we grow in an unhealthy way.
Are you ready to prune the dead weeds and thorns and branches in your life? Pruning
enables rosebushes and other plants to realize their full potential.Who wants an average rosebush when you could
have a fully developed rosebush? Rosebushes are meant to be spectacular. Roses
are probably considered the prize of the garden. The beauty and the fragrance of roses have been celebrated for many
centuries, and they still hold a high stature in flower gardening today. Roses
are not meant to be ordinary and neither are we. What might you need to end
become an extraordinary Christ follower?
Have you ever had to take a detour? Some of the longest
nights of my life have been due to roadblocks and bypasses. On a trip to Europe
we were scheduled to take a train from France to Spain. We waited and waited
and waited and finally learned that there was a fire that spanned across the
railroad tracks and prevented us from taking the train. Our group and all of
the train passengers boarded busses and traveled through the night to get to
our destination. We were sleepy and uncomfortable. We longed for our journey to
be different. It’s not fun to deal with
roadblocks but thank goodness we were able to bypass the fire and safely get to
our destination. There was a way around the roadblock. Our leaders had a plan.
They helped us change direction. They steered us to our destination. I’m
thankful for that detour. I’m thankful that we didn’t set out and get in the
middle of hazardous situation. We safely arrived at our destination and enjoyed
the beauty of Spain. Sometimes detours and bypasses and roadblocks are the best
thing for us!
During Paul’s Second Missionary Journey he experienced a
roadblock of sorts. He and Silas had planned to go into to Asia but for some
reason the Holy Spirit told them not to go that route. We don’t know if they
were told through a prophet, a vision, an inner conviction, or in some other
way but the men listened to God. Their journey didn’t take them to Asia but to
Macedonia where they were able to spread the Gospel and see God work in mighty
ways. Paul and Silas led Lydia and a jailer to Christ soon after they arrived
in Macedonia. The Gospel was spreading! I wander what might have happened to Paul and
Silas if they hadn’t listened to God’s Spirit? What might have happened to them
and to the Gospel message if they had not taken the bypass? Sometimes on our
journey, in our seasons, we too encounter a change of plans. We have to take a
detour. Knowing where to travel on our journey and how to get there is one of
our biggest challenges. Are you like Paul and Silas willing to listen to God’s
plans? When we listen to God’s leading and take his bypasses, we get to see the
blessings he has in store for us!
Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and
Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in
the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders
of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit
of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they
went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in
northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia
and help us!” 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once,
having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
I am happy to announce the release of my new women's Bible study, Celebrating the Seasons of Life. My goal is to encourage
women to live fully in God’s purpose during all the seasons of life. Based on Ecclesiastes
3:1, “for everything there is a season,” the study reminds us that God has a
plan for each of us and promises to make everything beautiful for its own time.
Each of the four lessons is based on one
of the calendar seasons and includes a 12 minute video and a downloadable study
guide that can all be completed in one hour. Each lesson features the story of
a biblical woman who used her season for her own good and God’s glory. Using
the handout for each lesson you’ll turn inward to examine the season of your
life and discover some strategies for living fully in your purpose. The series
is designed for individual study or a small group study in the home or
workplace. I hope it will serve as a blessing to women who want an easily
accessible and inspiring way to grow closer to Christ. The series is available
for free at www.christchurchchatt.org. Click here: Celebrating the Seasons of Life Study